The Apple iPhone OS 3.0 has been rolled out with features designed to extend its usefulness to developers and the enterprise
Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 has rolled out with new features for both end users and developers. The update will presumably help Apple compete in an increasingly crowded market against Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, Google’s Android, and Palm’s Pre.
The Apple iPhone OS 3.0 includes more than 100 new features, many of which are designed to make the smartphone more palatable to the enterprise. In March 2009, some 50,000 individuals who paid to be part of the company’s developer program were given access to both the updated SDK (software development kit) and the beta version of the operating system; their applications, in addition to those built by Sybase, SAP, Sun Microsystems and other companies, could add secure business functionality to the iPhone missing from previous versions.
Brendan Lim, director of mobile solutions for developer group Intridea, suggests that certain upgrades to the operating system will indeed benefit the enterprise.
“Copy and paste has long been overdue and will certain[ly] aid with any kind of business communication on the iPhone, whether it be SMS, MMS or E-mail,” Lim wrote in an e-mail to eWeek. “Push notifications [are] another long-awaited feature that is extremely important for businesses that use applications that can benefit from real-time information.”
There are benefits on the development side, as well. “Apple’s Interface Builder allows us to create user interfaces for the iPhone by merely dragging and dropping graphical pieces into place,” Lim continued. “It’s a much easier and pleasant experience than developing UI’s for BlackBerry or Android.”
However, “the competition allows us to have applications running in the background, which the iPhone currently does not support and hopes to alleviate with their push notifications,” Lim added. “Also, documentation for the iPhone’s API is not to par with that of BlackBerry or Android.”
In May 2009, Apple stated that all submissions to the App Store needed to be compatible with iPhone OS 3.0. In an e-mail, the company stated that if an app submission was incompatible, “it will not be approved.”
At the time, reports circulating online suggested that developers trying to build an OS 3.0 app using a static library built using a 2.x SDK could run into issues.
In April 2009, the number of apps downloaded from Apple’s app store passed the 1 billion mark. Apple says that more than 17 million people in 80 countries use the iPhone.